Becoming an Architect in Phoenix
Later, my parents, myself and my younger brother moved to join my older brother in Phoenix, Arizona, a place with a warmer climate better suited to my aging parents. There I stayed for 22 years, graduating from high school, getting my Bachelors and then Masters in Architecture and working at several architecture firms in the city including Deardorff Pang and Weymiller, Circle West Architects and Orcutt|Winslow. I steadily climbed the corporate ladder in the industry, earning my Arizona architecture license and my LEED accreditation.
Un-becoming an Architect
But in 2008 I had an awakening. I became disillusioned with the way architecture was practiced. I saw all around me that it was an industry that enables the whims of bottom-dollar, profit-driven developers. The practice of architecture did not seem to live up to its potential of being a way of improving the world. To me, it had become just another soulless, corporate act, often harming people and the planet rather than helping them.
And so I walked away from the corporate ladder of architecture and embarked on a journey to do work that is more in alignment with my values of being a steward of the planet and of each other. I started a company called Blooming Rock. As part of Blooming Rock, my then husband Paul and I revitalized two abandoned, foreclosed duplexes in Central Phoenix and turned them into sustainable and affordable rental housing. The two duplexes, 3 Palms and Red Mountain, are still in operation today and are beloved by the people that live there.
Community building matters to me, and so I founded the Places, Spaces and Faces Community Dinner in Phoenix, an enormously successful monthly potluck gathering that still takes place today.
Another part of my journey was to begin the Blooming Rock blog. The blog is a publication and a forum for ideas, musings, news, thoughts, advocacy and everything else related to sustainability, cities and architecture. It hosts various voices, experts in their fields and up and coming thought leaders, along with my own.
From Phoenix to Portland
The Blooming Rock blog began as a way to advocate for a more sustainable Phoenix. It was a vehicle for me to really look at how cities work, how transportation effects everything, and what it takes to build communities. In October of 2012, I visited Portland, Oregon and saw a city that had made great strides in the areas of environmental stewardship, transportation and community building. And on that 4 day trip, I decided to move to Portland, to live, explore and learn more about what an up and coming American city is like.
And so here I am, a sustainability, cities and architecture writer, living in a studio apartment in the Hawthorne District of Southeast Portland with my cat Regina. I am excited to share what I discover and the voices of many talented people with you on the Blooming Rock blog.
Other Publications I write for:
I am the managing editor and head writer for the Firefly Living Blog, an enlightened real-estate firm based in Phoenix. I am a contributing writer for Atlantic Cities and Inhabitat. And I am the Phoenix Category Expert Writer for Answers.com and the Construction Waste Recycling Expert for 1-800-Recycling.